After what was likely a heated debate around the editorial desk, The New York Times decided to rework a story that described Robert Lewis Dear, the man who killed three people and wounded nine others at a Planned Parenthood clinic on Friday, as “gentle.”
A story published on Saturday about Dear’s background used that adjective, defined as “[a person of] a mild in temperament or behavior; kind or tender” to describe Dear, following that adjective with details about how he harassed women for years. The first line of the story read:
After much huffing and puffing from twitter, the Times removed the word “gentle.” Now, the story has been reworked and the headline changed. A similar paragraph remains that reads:
Mr. Dear, who had surrendered to the police on Friday evening, remained in custody without bond at the El Paso County criminal justice center. Law enforcement records and interviews began to paint a portrait of an itinerant loner who left behind a trail of disputes and occasionally violent acts toward neighbors and women he knew.
The Times has not issued an editor’s note about the changes.
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